The Slow Food Movement simply emphasizes taking time to find good quality ingredients and learning to prepare them well. This goes from fresh and interesting produce such as a range of greens to artisinal cheeses and breads. I don't know how left wing it is since it mainly protests against the bland sameness of how many people approach food. It proposes grocery shopping as a kind of daily foraging in the markets in the sense of Alice Waters's Chez Parnisse rather than running into the super-mega-grocerystore once a week and filling up the grocery cart.

Naturally, the question of genetic-modification is a concern but then so is the narrowing bandwidth of strains of lettuce.

Italian association promoting the protection of the right to taste, and the conservation of cultural foods, recipes, and agricultural techniques that are in danger of disappearing. The organization, which uses a snail as its symbol, gives out annual awards to farmers, beekeepers, scientists, shepards, viticulturists, cheesemakers, and brewers whose work rediscovers or disseminates traditional ancient tastes and flavors or protects biodiversity. The group was started in 1986 by journalist Carlo Petrini, as a reaction to the opening of a McDonald’s next to the Spanish Steps in Rome. Inspired the international Slow Food Movement, which has about 60,000 members in 43 countries.

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." 
~Voltaire

The Oppposite of Fast Food

The Slow Food1  or Local Food movement has been pushed by chefs, gardeners and those who appreciate good food worldwide.  In the words of the official SlowFood.org website:

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Or, in the succinct words of USA Today, "Slow food is everything that fast food is not."  There are currently over 200 chapters of Slow Food USA, all focused on promoting a connection between the food we see on our plates and the individuals and resources required to produce it.  I think the foundational principle of the movement is to get people back in touch with some basic awareness of where their food comes from and what the real costs are of getting it to them. Another strong emphasis is on ensuring fairness for This simple idea is picking up steam internationally2 . 

The Slow Food website highlights the following principles and activities:

  • Raising public awareness, improving access and encouraging the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown
  • Caring for the land and protecting biodiversity for today's communities and future generations
  • Performing educational outreach within their communities and working with children in schools and through public programs
  • Identifying, promoting and protecting fruits, vegetables, grains, animal breeds, wild foods and cooking traditions at risk of disappearance
  • Advocating for farmers and artisans who grow, produce, market, prepare and serve wholesome food
  • Promoting the celebration of food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community

I've always felt that everyone should grow a little food, so sliding into a comraderie with the local food crew here on Cape Cod has been an easy sell.  Besides it's fun.  In practice, Local Food just means growing a little if you can, and showing up at the Farmer's Market3  every week to hobnob with the other growers and support their efforts by bringing home a big (reusable) sack of delicious fresh food.  No brainer.

If you're interested and you want a fun and inspiring immersion course in the reality of Local Food, read the brilliant Barbara Kingsolver's latest book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle4 

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1 Slow Food USA Website:  http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
2 Grassroots International: http://www.grassrootsonline.org/ 
3 The farm and food project: http://www.farmandfood.org/ 
4 The farm and food project: http://www.farmandfood.org/ 

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